From Endurance to Dressage
Was I pleased with this test? Not really, but it was certainly better than anything we've done so far.
Schooling shows are for bringing along green horses or newbie riders. As such, the judges are usually more generous with their scores and much kinder in their comments than they would be at a rated show. Take the judge's comment for our final halt at the end of the test, "wiggly." Now if that isn't a euphemism for didn't halt, I don't know what is. Score? 5.5 - very generous. I don't mind generous scores, but I recognize them for what they are: a way to encourage new or struggling riders to persevere and keep on keeping on.
I say all of this because to see my score sheet and final score (59.58%), you'd think we actually put in a somewhat decent ride. I used to get those kind of scores on Speedy all the time, and he was at least well behaved. He might not have actually been submissive, but he was nowhere as wild as Sydney was. I am starting to suspect that how it feels and how it looks must be two completely different things when it comes to my big, brown, OTTB.
To our credit, it was vastly improved over our last few showing attempts. I actually felt like I was mostly in control of our pace, and Sydney maintained forward movement, going where I asked. That's a big deal for us.
This judge was particularly kind in his evaluation and even kinder in person when he called me over for a consultation. Here's what he told me (he also wrote it in his comments).
The test felt like a string of funky movements held together by a few strides of Hey! That felt pretty good. I was very pleased that we got both canter departures. We actually got a slightly better score for the right lead canter than for the left. The canter half circle at E-B was full of shenanigans, but I just rode through it (the judge commented, "very well handled").
Both canter to trot transitions received a score of 6.0, so I think we're definitely showing improvement there. Since our first showing attempt, our walk has been one of our strongest movements. This free walk wasn't so great (6.5) but the medium walk after the stretchy trot circle earned a 7.0. I've been schooling that so I am glad to see some improvement.
I walked out of the ring with a smile and a deep sigh of relief. The warm-up had been tension free, and we rode the test without the feeling of being on a rocket. If this is the track we're on, I'll take it!
On Speedy, I am always more interested in the score rather than what the ride felt like because too often the rides feel the same, but the scores will be quite different (a 59% one week and a 65% the next). With Sydney, I am far more interested in how the ride felt rather than what the score says. This 59% felt like a 48%.
It helps if I compare our scores to other riders as it gives me a sense of how I did compared to the other riders I saw. I didn't see every rider go, but I certainly didn't see anyone careening around on an out of control rocket, so maybe my ride didn't look as wild and wooly as it felt. Here's how we stacked up against the rest of the class.
My score tied with another rider's, but the tie was broken based on the collective marks, so yah! for us on that one. You'll also notice that Sarah (of Eventing in Color fame) gave us a good butt whipping on her lovely gelding, Hemie). Congratulations to them!
Am I happy with this test? I guess so. I am definitely looking forward to our next show because I think we can get this. Ever onward!
About the Writer and Rider
I am a lifelong rider.
I began endurance riding in 1996 where I ultimately completed five, one-day 100 mile races, the 200-mile Death Valley Encounter, and numerous other 50, 65, and 75 mile races. I began showing dressage in 2010.
Welcome to my dressage journey.
About Speedy G
Speedy went from endurance horse to dressage horse. After helping me earn a USDF Bronze medal in the summer of 2020, he is now semi-retired. Speedy is a 2004, 15'1 hand, purebred Arabian gelding. His Arabian Horse Registry name is G Ima Starr FA.
Izzy was started as a four-year old and then spent the next 18 months in pasture growing up. I bought him as a six-year old, and together, we are showing at the lower levels. He is a 2008, 16'3 hand warmblood gelding. His Rheinland Pfalz-saar International (RPSI) name is Imperioso.
National Rider Awards
State Rider Awards
State Horse Awards
CDS Sapphire Rider Award
Third Level: 63.514%
Third Level: 62.105%
2023 Show Season
(r) Ride-a-Test Clinic
2023 Show Schedule
*** SCEC 10/15-16/22
2022 Completed …
(*) Tehachapi 5/22/22
(*) Tehachapi 7/24/22
(***) Tehachapi 8/28/22
2023 Qualifying Scores
Regional Adult Amateur Competition (RAAC)
Qualifying Training Level
3 Scores/2 Judges/60%:
Score 1: 62.115%